Zealot

Have you read this book by Reza Aslan called Zealot?  It’s about Jesus and apparently is quite controversial.  It’s supposedly caused a big stir because the author is Muslim and some dumb reporter asked him a dumb question.  And if all that wasn’t dumb enough, The Tennessean made sure to write an article about it letting lots of other people weigh in with their opinion too.

Full disclosure.  I haven’t read this book.  Also, I have no intention of reading it.  Maybe it’s awesome.  I’m not telling you what to do.  You’re grown.  Read it if you want to.

But I will tell you this.  The book isn’t controversial for any of the reasons that these ‘experts’ believe.  The controversy is the subject matter.  The “J” word.

Depending on where you are in your faith or lack thereof, Jesus will be the biggest source of comfort or discomfort in your life.  You may not even realize it.  Do you cringe when someone mentions his name?  Do you roll your eyes?  Or crack a joke?  Do you immediately start thinking of excuses?  Do you start reciting all the intelligent sounding things you heard from some professor of divinity that made Jesus sound like a really great guy whose rep was artificially inflated by his goofy followers.

I understand.  I did all that stuff too.

But when you really examine your heart, do you sometimes think Jesus may just be irresistible?  Do you feel him pursuing you with this overwhelming, crazy love?

I always know Jesus is knocking at the door of someone’s heart when they say stuff like this : “We just don’t know enough about Jesus,” he said.  The ‘he’ in this quote is Steven Prothereo, a religion professor from Boston University.

The chair of the school of religion at Belmont, Steven Gwaltney, had this to say :“Even people who were present in the life of Jesus couldn’t make up their minds about who he was, and they were eyewitnesses.”

I guess it’s pretty presumptuous for me, a chubby housewife without one day of seminary, to contradict these learned men.  But I’ve never let that kind of thing stop me before.

All the people who could not make up their minds about Jesus during his life on Earth had one thing in common.

The rich young ruler who walked away from Jesus didn’t want to give up his wealth.  The Pharisees who rejected Jesus didn’t want to give up their power. The Jewish people did not want to give up their (mistaken) idea of what the Messiah would actually be.

So when I hear someone say that ‘they just don’t know enough about Jesus’, my first reaction is, “What are you worried about giving up?”  Because that’s the real struggle here.

For some of us, Jesus is a tsunami.  He comes into our lives and nothing is left unchanged.  Things are broken, things are cleansed, things are washed away.  We define our lives as BC and AD.  Before Christ, I was too smart for my own good.  I was so lucky to have a Godly grandmother who oozed Jesus out of every pore.  She had peace and joy in situations where no one should have had those things.  But I rebelled intellectually because every other person of faith that I knew only talked about behavior modification.  In third grade, a friend of mine got baptized.  I asked her what that meant in her life and she said “It means I can’t cuss anymore.”  Ya’ll, at 8 years old I remember vividly walking away from her on the playground shaking my head and thinking, “there has to be more than that.” It would be 21 more years before I figured out what that ‘more’ actually was.  I spent those 21 years with literally millions of sources about Jesus available to me. But I spent my time trying to prove them wrong.

The problem is not that we don’t know enough about Jesus.  The problem is that we instinctively know that if we accept him, we will have no choice but to change.  You think this is a big shock to Jesus?  Sorry guys, he saw this coming a long time ago.

In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.

John 1:25

People in the world are not waiting for more evidence.  In fact, I believe far too many people in the world today know too much about Jesus.  They focus on the facts they like and discard the rest as mythology.  And I believe they scream at the top of their lungs about all these dumb, hateful Christians to try to drown out that ‘still small voice”.  They are waiting for us to love them past their excuses.

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Heh?

Our Church motto is “Anything short of sin to get people to Jesus”.

I couldn’t believe it.  I read it again…out loud just to see if it sounded as stupid the second time.

This was a comment made by a woman I don’t even know on a Facebook post written by another woman I don’t know.

Yep, it’s happened.  I am now becoming enraged at complete strangers.

To me this is as confusing as it is annoying.  What does this phrase even mean?  “Anything short of sin”?  Does it mean you won’t kill people to get them to Jesus?  You won’t lie to them?  Commit adultery with them?  (I once knew a guy who actually used this as an excuse for an affair.  True story.)

Look, I am all about evangelism.  I’m not trying to hate on this lady or her church for their intentions.  But what message does it send to phrase your mission this way?

Jesus is not your ugly second cousin that you are trying to set up on a blind date.  You can’t show me one Biblical example of  evangelism where any Christian has to intimidate, beg or strong arm someone into the faith.  People met Jesus and they were changed.

One of the main reasons the modern church has so much trouble evangelizing is that the world needs Christ and we keep offering them Christians.  If we could just be humble enough to say, “He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30)

 

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What?

And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was a valiant mang]’> tall. The Egyptian had in his hand a spear I'm a mom.
A married mom
A step-mom
A marching band mom
A color guard mom
A blogging mom
A vacuuming mom
A curmudgeonly mom
Also I love Jesus...big time

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